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UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal

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Plead Guilty, Without Bargaining: Learning from China’s “Summary Procedure” before Enacting Indonesia’s “Special Procedure” in Criminal Procedure


Because Indonesian courts are increasingly overrun with criminal cases, Indonesian lawmakers recently introduced a criminal procedure bill to include “special procedure” (jalur khusus), a procedure that allows defendants to plead guilty in order to increase efficiency. Unlike plea-bargaining in the United States, this procedure resembles China’s “summary procedure,” which is solely conducted by a judge, not negotiated independently by prosecutors and defendants. Before enacting the provision of special procedure, however, Indonesian lawmakers should learn from China’s successes and failures implementing summary procedure. While this procedure resulted in increased efficiency in China, it did not provide for defense counsel, and it resulted in an increased risk of false confessions. The author begins by describing the overcrowding of Indonesian courts and the need for increased efficiency. Next he describes several lessons from China’s experience by identifying China’s successes and failures after enacting summary procedure. Finally he gives specific recommendations to Indonesian lawmakers for maximizing the special procedure in light of China’s experience.

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